Spontaneous Painful Disease in Companion Animals Can Facilitate the Development of Chronic Pain Therapies for Humans

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2018 Feb;26(2):175-183. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2017.11.011. Epub 2017 Nov 24.


Objective: To outline the role that spontaneous osteoarthritis (OA) in companion animals can play in translational research and therapeutic pharmacological development.

Outline: Narrative review summarizing the opportunities and limitations of naturally occurring, spontaneous OA as models of human OA pain, with a focus on companion animal pets. The background leading to considering inserting spontaneous disease models in the translational paradigm is provided. The utility of this model is discussed in terms of outcome measures that have been validated as being related to pain, and in terms of the potential for target discovery is outlined. The limitations to using companion animal pets as models of human disease are discussed.

Conclusions: Although many steps along the translational drug development pathway have been identified as needing improvement, spontaneous painful OA in companion animals offers translational potential. Such 'models' may better reflect the complex genetic, environmental, temporal and physiological influences present in humans and current data suggests the predictive validity of the models are good. The opportunity for target discovery exists but is, as yet, unproven.

Keywords: Cat; Dog; Model; Osteoarthritis; Pain; Spontaneous disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy
  • Chronic Pain / veterinary*
  • Drug Development / methods
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary*
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Pets
  • Translational Medical Research / methods